Ethical fatigue

One of the most rewarding aspects of working in the world of CSR is the constant debate and discussion around terms such as ethical, responsible, social, environmentally friendly and Fairtrade etc, especially when talking to the mostly unaware business world. In reality every organisation has their own interpretation of CSR or Sustainability and stage of maturity, usually picking and choosing which elements are most beneficial to that business at that moment.

One particular area that always stimulates my own brain cogs is the retail sector.

A couple of questions to begin to paint a picture… Is Marks & Spencer’s ‘Plan A’ campaign good or bad? Is Tesco the devil disguised as a shop? Is there really such a thing ethical consumerism?

I’m waiting for the first news item about somebody having a mental breakdown due to ‘ethical fatigue’. As we all become more aware of each products life cycle from raw material to its disposal we all have to decide what particular issues are important to us. I wonder what the most ethical product league would look like? I know I’ve had a couple of ‘moments’ in a sleep deprived and stressed state, usually amongst the stock cages, boxes and silent staff restacking shelves around midnight in Tesco when I’ve looked like a twitching C3PO. What is more important healthy, organic, Fairtrade, local sourced, packaging, promotion, producers other CSR activities? Ignorance would be bliss!

In today’s economic climate I’m fascinated to see where the next 12 months will take our spending. I’d rather buy one organic (and soon to be home grown) spud than a big plate of McCain’s chips anyday. Would you?

Here’s one heartening report by the Co-Operative Bank worth a look. click here

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